Midway through the third period with the Boston Bruins and Flyers locked at two, the orange-clad Philadelphia crowd that filled Wells Fargo Center scrapped the U.S.A. chants that started the contest in favor off a more topical and rousing abbreviation — J.V.R.
To say that James van Riemsdyk was impressive in Game 2 would be an understatement. Scoring two early goals and pacing the Flyers’ spirited attack throughout, the 21-year-old seemed to have an awaken. Jetting into the zone, cornering defenders and powering to the crease, all while taking double shifts, was not just an errant good game — it looked more like the coming of age of a superstar.
“I think it’s just the experience and the confidence to have been in the playoffs before and learned from the guys that are such great playoff performers,” van Riemsdyk said.
Facing a crucial Game 2 on Monday against the Boston Bruins, the Flyers need a physical and emotional overhaul if they plan to leave Philadelphia with a split. From the coaches to Brian Boucher in net, the Flyers must be better in almost every facet if they want to climb back into the series.
Here are the keys to Game 2 for the Flyers.
Jeff Carter walked gingerly down the hall at the Flyers practice facility on Thursday morning, holding a slight limp on his sprained right knee.
The high-scoring forward’s walk, along with mechanical knee brace laying under his equipment in the locker room, told the tale of someone not quite ready to play in an intensity-driven post-season game. Throw in the fact that Carter hasn’t practiced with the team since the injury occurred on April 20, and there’s reason to believe that although the optimism is present for his return at some point during the second round against the Boston Bruins, that comeback won’t happen anytime soon.
But should Flyers fans be worried?
VOORHEES, N.J. — It was a moment that defined the core of this Flyers team.
Coming from a 3-0 series and Game 7 deficit to take down the Boston Bruins en route to an eventual trip to the Stanley Cup Finals was not only historic, it is the watershed moment that all future playoff scenarios will be compared to. And what this particular returning group of Flyers will walk beside forever.
And for that, the Bruins seek redemption.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s a good opportunity for us to hopefully exorcise some demons,” Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference told the Boston Herald, after advancing past the Montreal Canadians on Wednesday.
“As much as we learned lessons from last year and we’re not afraid to talk about those lessons, we’ve got a chance to make things a little bit better this time around.”
The Flyers officially announced on Wednesday that forward Jody Shelley has received a two-game suspension for his punch to Vancouver Canucks defenseman Andrew Alberts on Tuesday.
With just over seven minutes left to play in the game with Vancouver easily leading 6-1, Shelley and Alberts came together after a whistle. With bodies between them, Shelley dropped his gloves and quickly came over the top with a sucker punch to the face of Alberts, which caused the former Flyer to hit the ground immediately.
The Philly enforcer received a game misconduct and match penalty, which is automatically reviewed by the league.
But what makes this ruling by the NHL’s disciplinary office curious, is that an extremely similar play happened to Boston Bruins’ leading goal scorer Milan Lucic on Dec. 23, when, wrapped up by the referee, slugged the face of Freddie Meyer, earning him the same match penalty as Shelley. However, Lucic was simply fined with no suspension.
According to general manager Paul Holmgren, Flyers forward Jody Shelley has been suspended two games for his hit on Boston Bruins’ Adam McQuaid, in Saturday’s 2-1 Philly victory. Shelley will miss Tuesday’s home contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as Wednesday in Montreal versus the Canadiens.
Nikolay Zherdev is expected to be re-activated in his place, with Dan Carcillo taking up fourth-line duties.
Shelley, 34, was racing down an icing touch up, when he pushed on the back of McQuaid, who lost an edge and went into the boards head first. Shelley received a five-minute major and game misconduct. After being helped off, McQuaid returned and finished the game.
The NHL has strict rules regarding contact on a touch icing and Shelley’s offense was textbook.
Shelley, acquired by the Flyers as a free agent in the offseason, has one goal, two assists and 73 penalty minutes in 31 games.
The Boston Bruins may have exercised the demons of last season’s game 7 playoff collapse when they defeated the Flyers, 3-0, on Dec. 1. But with the slate now wiped clean, the Bruins aren’t expecting the same type of easy result the second time around.
“Now you’ve got a team coming back, wanting to redeem themselves and get that win back that we stole from them in their home building,” Boston coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe on Friday. “I would expect it to be a tough challenge. They’re an easy team to get up for, just like they’re going to say about us. It’s a natural rivalry that’s there and both teams are going to pull out their best.
“I expect an even bigger battle tomorrow, to be honest with you.”
On July 27, Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger underwent minor surgery to clean out his damaged right knee. Following the successful procedure, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren stated that the 35-year old would be “ready for the start of camp.”
Holmgren may have been a bit optimistic.
“No. I can tell you that much,” Pronger said, when asked by PR staff if he would be 100-percent for the start of training camp in Sept. “With the amount of atrophy, it is going to take a lot of hard work to build the leg muscles back up.
“Obviously, I will spending a lot of hours in the gym trying to strengthen my knee and the rest of my body.”
In the second period of game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with the Flyers and Boston Bruins tied at three, a loose rebound popped up around Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask. With every player on each team crashing the net at the same time, the disc rattled off a mess of bodies and seemingly crossed the goal line before being kicked out and covered by Rask. The referee instantly waved no goal and the play was reviewed and again denied.
You be the judge.
According to a report from CSNphilly.com, Flyers’ center Blair Betts underwent an MRI on his right shoulder on Thursday and the results returned were negative. He is expected to play in game 7 against the Boston Bruins on Friday in Boston.
Betts, 30, dislocated his shoulder twice in the regular season which caused him to miss close to 20 games. The penalty kill specialist went awkwardly into the penalty box boards in the second period of Wednesday’s, 2-1 Flyers win. He left the ice in agony and holding his shoulder in place. He returned to the bench in the third period but did not play.